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tv   Book TV  CSPAN  November 13, 2010 9:00am-12:00pm EST

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away. >> just a couple of more minutes. >> your past position about the perception of jesus being not divine. one of the highest in the profit of islam. >> he is not be fine. >> no strain. jesus was -- it is one of the highest respected in islam. .. respectability in islam. >> is respected in islam. that's undeniable. >> so for you to say -- what the talmud ought to do -- >> i'm very careful with my words here. he is not divine. that would be polytheism. the attack i have a limited time
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here. but the talented that is disproven and recognizes that chooses as perfect, not as being said of that. before the invasion of iraq, you have muslims, shiite you have muslim, shia and shiite living side-by-side intermarried. and in ramadan was was -- all right. 2006 security forces with explosives whenpe they were apprehended and bombarded -- >> okay. >> i get the point. >> if you told me the foreign people are not powerful what's happening -- most people didn't know what was going on. >> would you like a response? i get the gist of it.
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>> do you actually want a response? okay. well, first of all, you're wrong about the status of jesus in islam. he's certainly respected. he's considered a prophet and he's not divine and that's the status. what's the status of hinduism and if i were to grant you there's no conflict of christian tuand muslim there's no reason to grant, there's clearly a conflict between islam and hinduism.g polytheism is anathamatized and there's no debate there and there's a billion hindus and sit for only conversion and the sort. and yes, it is true our invasion of iraq pulled the lid of a dictatorship off of these ethnic and religious tensions.
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but to say that life among sunni and shia has for 1,000 years have been wonderful years -- it's a disregard all of muslim history. it's just not true. and on a -- and i wasn't -- for the most part i'm not talking about iraq. i was talking about pakistan. and on a daily basis, shia mosques and other mosques in pakistan are blown up by sunnis and it's not the result of western occupation because we're not in pakistan. and it's been going on for quite some time. and it's not -- it's understandable. the problem we have is that someone like osama bin laden, while you can say he's distorting the faith of islam, it's not obvious how he is distorting it. you really have to split hairs to see how he's distorting it.y now, if he were amish or he was a buddhist it would be
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absolutely obvious how he was distorting his faith. his behavior would be unintelligible and to deny that is to simply lie about the contents of the korean and hadean. >> i'm so sorry we don't have any more time for questions. but he will be back. thank you very much. [applause] [inaudible conversations] >> for more on sam harris and his work, visit sam >> next, a re-air of indeath with author and columnist jonah goldberg, the author of liberal fascism was interviewed and took viewer questions. it's just over three hours.
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>> jonah goldberg in liberalism you write that fascism is a religion of the state. what do you mean? >> guest: it's nice to be here. what i mean by that it is that -- i get much of my thinking about this from the philosopher erice frigallen and he believes all the progressive totalitarian isms, fascism, fabianism and go down thean lis of the isms and they were in effect f standins for -- stand-ins for them. and in that respect, all of these political ideologies have -- have an irreducible core of utopian thinking to them. it doesn't need to be doctrinary and it doesn't need to be spelled out and it doesn't need
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to be, you know, in some manifesto somewhere. it's an emotional orientation towards politics that we can make everything perfect. we can make everything good. that, a, never has to come at the cost of b. and in that sense liberal -- contemporary liberalism which has very -- what we call liberalism today has very few similarities with classical liberalism which is sort of what we call libertarianism today. it's an off-chute and it contains these sort of religious utopian imperatives built into the way it looks at public policy, the way it looks at social organization, the way it looks at the role of the government in uplifting everyone's lives, fulfilling people, fulfilling the holes in their souls and all the rest. i don't mean to say that it is necessarily evil. i believe that it's for the most part very well intentioned.
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it is full of good and decent are more i think often than not simply confused about what politics can and can't do. >> who founded it? >> who founded liberalism? >> fascism? >> well, the official title for founder of fascism has to go to benito mussolini who was in his earlier life one of the most important socialist intellectuals of the 20th century. he was extremely popular as a socialist leader. if he hasn't broke with the communis,t international basically what the common term, the vatican of communism at the time. if he hadn't proved to be a heretic who was disloyal to moscow in effect, he probably would have gone down in history as one of the half dozen, dozen socialists, t intellectuals and activists in the 20th century. but instead of what he does is
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he comes up with a -- what i would call a heretical social reform of socialism and becomes the founder of what they called fascism. and fascism gets its meaning fromdl the bundle of sticks wrapped around ash and you can find itn all around architectur and art and historically it was a symbol of the authority of rome and it was also to symbolize strength in numbers. strength of unity. and in the late 19th century there are these bans and whatnot who were called fashios and mussolini comes back from world war i having been an ardent socialist. he earns the title el-dutuche and he comes back and he wants to bringm what he calls the socialism of the trenches which
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is this sort of militarized unity that you got from fighting in a war. and he called this new variant ofna socialized socialism fasci and that's where we get the word from. >> what are the central tenets of fascism? >> it depends who you ask including mussolini and when you ask him. one of the real problems you run into especially with mussolini is that his run in power was so long and he was constantly trying to revive what his state was doing and revive its popularity that he issued different definitions at different times in all the rest. but the central tenets of fascism, you know, one of the famous definitions that mussolini offers everything inside the state and nothing outside of the state. and what he means -- he doesn't necessarily mean everything has to be owned by the government but everything has to be guided by the government. everything has to be cajoled, herded, regulated, directed by the state.
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and the state is the idea it's an organic concept, sort of the brain of the society, the -- we talked today about cloud commuting. the cloud computer in where they get their direction and meaning and what not. and so the actual public policies -- they vary over time in various ways but in almost every regard certainly in terms of italian socialism we would regard the policies of fascism to be on the left. heavy, you know, cracking down on corporations, increasing for a time he was hailed as a -- as a leader for women in politics 'cause he was for suffrage and all these sorts of things. increased pensions, greater welfare state all of these sorts of things. they are all about expanding the role of the state. expanding its intrusion into different parts of people's
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lives. and which is always one of these funny ironies which libertarians in the united stateso and i'm jumping ahead and whenever libertarian types get into power they're branded by so many people on the left by being fascist when the one things libertarians don't want to do is expand state power but the reason why liberals do so much of that is because -- is that the left has this idea that they have a monopoly on political morality and the further awaypo you get to them the closer you one of their d synonyms for political evil is fascism and so if they don't like what you're doing you must be a fascist.t. who is jean jacque russo? >> i get into trouble because i have friends who like him. russo was a political philosophemr who was in many was the inspiration for the french revolution.r and russo argued in the social
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contract andl in -- things like the concept of the general will that the group was more important than the individual. that our rights roup was more important than individual. that our rights come from the crew. that we are born in, we are born as noble savages. what i want to do is contrast result with say, john block or adam smith. and other than those, the locking, scottish and lightly view our rights come from god, not from government. we are captives of ourselves that we're individuals within all right. and rousseau is completely the reverse, that we are not send -- we are not sinful creatures. we are born >> we are born as noble and wonderful things. he has this line, man is free but born in chains. society is corrupt, and people are good.
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and the conservative vision or the classical liberal flash conservative vision is the opposite. is that because of our sinful nature, you need to have a society that checks our ambition against each other. that's what the federalist papers and all the rest are about. and russo's ideas fairly or unfairly -- and i have these arguments with lots of people and i'm willing to be agnostic about it inspired in many ways the revolutionary tradition which begins with the french revolution. the french revolution -- i argue in the book was essentially the first fascist revolution. it was the idolatry of the state and people, and committees and public safety could guide society. they were explicit about how they wanted to turn politics into religion. they were very antagonistic on religion. they turned the churches into temples was reason and whatnot.
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it was, you know -- there's a line where we want to turn the commitment to the revolution into -- by cultivating the region into an end state. the idea that they were going to overturn all of the past, start over year zero as they like to put it and this revolutionary tradition that i would argue a fascism. is that the way to understand fascism the left in marxists always understood fascism or tried to portray fascism as a counter-revolution. you know, that this was aristocrats and the industrialists and the old guard trying to restore the status quo and, you know, fight back against the evils of communism and socialism and all the rest. and i say that's wrong. i say fascism in fact was part of this revolutionary tradition. it had its own special tenets and what not. but if you look at what mussolini believed, if you
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looked at what hitler believed and what they were selling, they were selling a revolution. they weren't monarchists and they certainly weren't free market capitalists or anything like that. they wanted, you know, to start over at year zero. >> in liberal fascism, you write that the traditional family is the enemy of all political totalitarianisms because it is a bastian of loyalty separate from and prior to the state. which is why progressives are constantly trying to crack its outer shell so, therefore, what is liberal fascism? >> well, liberal fascism -- i make the argument in the book that we sort of have been looking in the wrong place for fascists. everybody basically agrees that one of the great lessons of the holocaust and of nazism and of fascism is to say never again. you know, that this was a period that we never want to go through again. and i agree with that entirely. but where liberal fascism comes
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in is that we are looking in the wrong place. i argue today -- the title -- i should back up. the title "liberal fascism" comes from a title from h.g. wells who was sort of forgotten today except as a science fiction guy. i remember, you know, the 4:30 movie when i would come home at school and it would be giant ants and h.g. wells wrote about it and that kind of thing. the reality is that h.g. wells is one of the most public intellectuals in the 20th century. hugely successful in the progressive movement. hugely influential on fabian socialism which was sort of a kindred movement in britain. hugely influential on the social gospel movement in the united states which was sort of the religious arm of american progressives. and wells in 1932 was asked to give a speech to the young liberals at oxford who were sort
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of the next -- the young liberals -- it's not the college democrats but it was like the younger sort of fire breathers of the liberals in britain. and he gives this speech and i'm trying to all my life to what my philosophy is and he says, you know, i've racked my brain and i finally figured it out. it's liberal fascism. and he also called for enlightened nazism and i could have called my book that and really made friends. but liberal fascism was this idea that, according to h.g. wells, that we need to use the power of the state in much the way the fascists were and the way the bolsheviks were. and five minutes earlier it was called progressivism so getting back to what liberal fascism is today, liberal fascism is a literary term that i tried to use in the book to show the
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contemporary liberalism still holds on to its roots of american progressivism. that american progressivism really was part and parcel of this fascist moment in american -- in global or western political and intellectual life. if you look at the cross-pollination, intellectual cross-pollination between american progressive and american progressive philosophers and what was going on in europe at the time, there's a huge amount of give-and-take going both ways, particularly in american of american pragmatism. and if you look at what you think of when you think of -- a well-read person thinks of when they think of fascism and you look at what a lot of the progressives believed, you can see how there was a lot of commonality there. and so getting back to how i began the answer to this question so long-windedly, the
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contemporary liberalism today is constantly saying that its opponents across the political aisle are kindred fascists or that's fascist scratched the surface they are fascists. michael hedges came out with a book "new york times" pulitzer prize winning reporter came out a book called american fascists in which he argued basically every christian conservative in america was a fascist. you hear this all the time from the left for the last 50 years. truman called john dewey a fascist. goldwater was called a fascist. reagan was called the fascist gun in the west by jerry ruben which was at least a clever title. bill clinton called these guys fascists and i don't mean to just say i know you are but what am i but when i'm talking about this stuff but part of the argument that i'm trying to make is these guys are projecting. they are not looking at their own intellectual history and the roots of contemporary liberalism which draws on american
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conservatism which has deep and abiding similarities to fascism. i'm not saying they are antisemetic or genocidal racists and it's important to remember the italian fascists were not genocidal racists either. they have the idea that fascist means absolute bad guy but that's not how it was understood in the 1920s. it's not how it was understood basically until fairly late in the movie as it were. but -- you know, one of the great failures of my book is that it has popularized the use of fascism as an epithet. and one of the things i was hoping to do and i failed miserably is shut down the use of the word "fascist" as a epithetic and it's become bipartisan. i don't like it. i don't think it's all that helpful. it might help my book sales but that's not what i hoped to do and so when i -- when i talk about liberal fascism in the book, as much as anything, what i'm trying to do is say, look if
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we're going to use the word "fascist" we might is well use it more accurately and we might is well look at these things in our life that are popular and mainstream and progressive that bear a hell of a a lot more similarity to fascism than anything you hear out of rand paul, for example. >> jonah goldberg the subtitle of liberal fascism is the secret history of the american left from mussolini to the politics of meaning. why that subtitle and what was the original subtitle? >> well, there were many original subtitles that never made it to the press and actually in the paperback it's to the politics of change because they wanted me to update to barack obama. one that was on there for a long time was -- had mentioned something about whole foods in there. and, you know, part of the argument -- and this gets into what we were just talking about. part of the argument i'm trying to make in the book -- and i honestly do believe this, is
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that it does you no good just to point to terrible things and say fascist. i mean, that's easy. that's picking low hanging fruit. what's really hard to do but if you truly believe in never again -- if you truly believe in protecting liberty and defending the constitution is you have to point at things that seem awesome, that seem great and progressive and wonderful and all the rest. and that -- and that's why i have a chapter in there we're all fascists now because we have all these things that are -- that would be utterly recognizable to -- to one fascist or not that we now celebrate as just perfectly mainstream and so the subtitle that -- the politics of meaning one, you know, hillary clinton in 1993, '94, i can't remember she gave this famous speech of the politics of meaning where she said we need to redefine what it means to be a human being in the modern world. she wanted to reinvigorate the
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sense of spiritual from the federal level down. she had this -- and she got a lot of this stuff from this guy michael learner and all the rest. and this sort of gets at the core of what your first question was about, which is this idea of a political religion. there was this idea from -- i think -- this was a body of thought that hillary clinton was tapping into at the time. that said -- and you could see it in the popular culture and all sorts of other places that said that somehow, you know, things were out of balance. things were wrong and what we needed to do was find our new authenticity, to find a new sense of the spiritual in the public realm. and that is precisely what fascism was about. and bolshevik jame and a lot of these other things were about. giving people things meaning filling up their sense of the religious through politics.
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and, you know, hillary clinton eventually backed down from all of that because it turned out that most americans go obscure institution you might have heard of called church where they get their spiritual thought and the idea that the guiding principles of the federal government is to ensure that we are -- we are our brother's keeper and we are our sister's keeper. but second of all is a massive expansion of the mission of the state to say it's the state's job to make sure we're all our brother's keepers and our sister's keepers. >> jonah goldberg in the book which you edited and do the introduction do, proud to be right. first line in this book, did you ever wonder why the best comedians are blacks, canadians and jews. >> it's a good opening line.
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sort of the argument and one i've been making for a very long time. part of what makes for -- what makes comedy, good, is this ability to have that visitor from mars kind of perspective, you know the whole point of seinfeld, did you ever notice, you know, that's a huge part of comedy is to find these obvious yet somehow bizarrely hidden connections between things. and it's very hard to be a great comedian if you grew up -- without any kind of alienation. either from your family or -- or whenever your comedians talk about their lives there's always a reason why they became comedians something about being left out in school and being the odd guy out in their family or whatever. but as a generalization, the point is canadians, blacks, jews, you could probably throw
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in gays they are part of mainstream culture except for the canadians, right? but they are also separate from it. and particularly among canadian and comedians and they have their face pressed up in the fish bowl of the united states, they are consuming american popular culture voraciously and they can make these observations about american life in a way. and the reason why i bring it up in the book is because i think in many ways particularly in college campuses, political conservatives are the same thing. is that we are part of the mainstream campus life and american life but we have to know our own culture as well as the majority culture. that we stand outside of it in a way that other -- that liberals don't. and that is a source -- it's a source of strength that comes from a disadvantage that conservatives have because we have this ability to stand outside of a tradition, understand it better than the people within it themselves do. >> welcome to "in depth."
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this is booktv's monthly program with one author looking at his or her body of work. our guest this month is jonah goldberg. jonah goldberg is the author of liberal fascism, he's the editor of proud to be right. he's the editor of the national review online. he's a visiting scholar at the american enterprise institute. he's a blogger. he's a columnist. you can read him at his website. you can read him at aei. you can read him at national review. you can read him in several newspapers around the country. he's our guest for the next two and a half hours. i'm going to put the phone lines up on the screen if you would like to dial in and talk to jonah goldberg. a doctor jonah goldberg. if you live in east and central time zones, (202) 737-0001. those of you in about a pacific time zones, (202) 737-0002. you can also send us an e-mail at booktv at c-span dot board. >> unfortunately our twitter is not working today so we can't take any tweets.
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for jonah goldberg but if you want to get updates on booktv you can go to mr. goldberg in proud to be right, voices of the next conservative generation, there are essays on drug laws, sex at yale, home-schooling, religion -- there seemed to be a lot of contradictory essays in this book. is there anything -- let's go -- let's start at the basic. what is conservatism? what unites conservatives? >> you're right about the book and that was intentional. is that one of the points about the book much like the blog in the corner write spent much of my time on national review online and i'm the editor-at-large and not the day-to-day editor, thank god. is that, you know, there is this presumption on the left and on the mainstream media that the second you say someone is conservative, you know, there
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are two eye holes in a pillow case to being a clansman and that's all you need to know about. one of the things that's so vital for conservatism is to point out that there's actually a robust intellectual and ideological diversity on the right. there's a lot of disagreement on the right. you know, there's this assumption that conservatism at all dogmatism. that we all, you know, receive orders that were shot troops from the christian right or from corporate america or for colonel sanders, who knows? that we're all supposed to be marching in step and that we're -- robert wrote this idiotic thing at the huffington post that all conservatives have the authoritarian personality and all that. and one of the things i wanted to show there's a wide diversity of views, you know, from essentially a narco capitalist libertarian to hardcore christian right social conservatives. and the one thing that unites
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all these factions to one extent or another is skepticism about the progressive obsession with expanding the role of the state. the ability of the state to do these things. you know irving crystal one of my heroes used to say that there were two kinds of conservatives. there were those who were antileft and those who are antistate and it wasn't a conservatism and libertarian thing although that gets to some of that. his point was there were some conservatives who were perfectly comfortable with a strong, robust federal government that did all sorts of important and worth wile things. they didn't think the left was very good at running it. and then there are a lot of conservatives who were antistate who say i don't care who's running it. government shouldn't be big. it shouldn't be involved in people's lives and blah, blah, blah. this is one of the fundamental sort of ideological schisms that run through the right and a lot
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of debates hinge around it. and, in fact, i always argue that conservatism is less dogmatic than liberalism because we are constantly arguing about these philosophical tradeoffs between liberty and virtue. between order and freedom. and we redraw those lines constantly. and meanwhile the left doesn't have these kinds of philosophical arguments in the same way. because the consensus has already been formed and the dogma is already there which is the government should do good when it can, where it can, and whenever it can. >> jonah goldberg, blake ewing sends this email from chicago. libertarians tend to see any social issue law, e.g. illegality pot ban on gay marriage as an oppressive government but some individual liberty
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. >> and i probably disagree, too. i would want to say two things about this. one -- what usually unite most conservatives and libertarians and there's more tension these days between conservatives and libertarians than there has been in a while is the idea as you shrink the state the culture needs to be stronger. that civil society is supposed to fill in these blanks where the state withdraws and civil society can be pretty stern in about what it allows and doesn't allow with the culture permits and doesn't permit. and, you know, i don't know what frederick high-jack who is one of my hero who is say about pot legalization or whatnot but he would certainly agree that you would need a vibrant and healthy society and civil culture to
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regulate things that the state shouldn't be regulating. and so you can have i don't have these things be -- you know, you don't have to have -- to have a liberal government you don't have to have radical individualism or whatever. second, the solution with all of these debates -- i think i brought this up when i was on that other c-span panel recently. the solution is on conservatives and libertarians about the proper role of the state. it can be satisfied with federalism. this idea of pushing political authority to the lowest possible level possible. so if one small town wants to ban pot. it can ban pot and if another small town say let your freak flag fly and let people decide how they want to live in the community that they actually live in. and the problem that you get -- why libertarians and conservatives tend to unite at the national level is that you have the federal government
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saying you need a 1 size fits all lifestyle to be imposed by the state from the national level. and that's crazy. to me i would push pretty much all these things down to the lowest level possible. you have to enforce the basic civil rights and all that. but beyond that, you know, if one town wants to live, you know, banning alcohol, let them ban alcohol. if another town wants to legal eyes marijuana, let them legalize marijuana and if you object in your town and you have a knock out drag down fight and you lose you can suck it up and live to fight another day or you can do this thing that social scientists call moving. and leave town and vote with your feet. this is the most mobile society in the history of humanity. people should be able to live where they want to live. but the idea that a town of 5,000 people should be held hostage to the personal views of one person or a handful of
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people strike me as lunacy. again you have to have basic enforcement of civil rights but beyond that, you know, push all these things down to the most local level possible and that would satisfy 90% of the libertarian objections and 100% of the conservative ones. >> you mentioned the panel that booktv recently covered on proud to be right. and one of the panelists was helen riddlemeyer, the smoker's code is her essay in proud to be right and you mentioned in the front of the book that this is your favorite essay in the book, why? >> i liked it first of all because i like helen and second of all i have a deep and abiding fondness for the yale political union. which it play as big role in this. and i like -- and i'm not necessarily sure i agreed with everything in it but what i liked about it a sort of a fierce application of serious intellect to wanton
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combativeness. which is one of the things i love about young conservatives on campuses is that they are less interested in changing the world and more interested in having a really good argument. and that's one of the things i like culturally about the right is that, you know, you can have these really great arguments that draw on political philosophy and history and all of the rest. i'm not saying that doesn't exist on the left, of course, it does. but the sort of cultural orientation of the left is one of constant social improvement and amielioriation and the most interesting arguments in america are conservatives and libertarians as far as i'm concerned. >> let's take some calls. first up glenn in freeland, michigan. you're on with jonah goldberg. please go ahead. >> caller: yes, thank you very much. and gentlemen, i was just
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curious, why does mr. goldberg think that conservatives are still so often portrayed as these archie bunker-type characters in the mass media and the popular culture and also specifically what did he think of the movie "w" -- excuse me, the movie "w" the oliver stone movie about the george w. bush administration. >> thanks, glenn. >> i will confess that i have a pretty serious moratorium against oliver stone movies. and i haven't watched it on cable. there was no way i was going to plunk down money in the theater for it. so i'll take the fifth. i shouldn't say take the fifth because there's nothing ached incriminate myself about. but in terms of the archie bunker thing it's the easiest place for liberals to go.
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and we see this are now -- this huge debate going on about why obama got into trouble. why he has the problems that he has. and a big chunk of the rationalization obama seems to be giving himself these stupid americans don't realize how dumb they are or how scared they are and panicky they are that they don't understand the truth and reason and enlightened wisdom when they hear it. that was obama's argument about, you know, western pennsylvania. basically, you know, it was just a bunch of archie bunkers out in the hinterlands claiming to their religions and their firearms and their xenophobia or as i often put it clinging to their sky god and their boom sticks. and you heard it, you know, on the campaign trail where he says the reason why facts and reason and logic aren't working right
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now is that americans are just so scared. he's constantly claiming that, you know, his problems have to do with messaging. and you find this in the commentary is well. and so i think there is this -- it is an incredibly self-serving narrative for the popular culture and liberals to sort of advance. that somehow if only we would educate the great bourgeoisis. >> you mentioned you're not a oliver stone fan, are you planning on reading decision point? >> it actually sounds like unlike a lot of these kinds of books it might have some interesting stuff in there. again, i think i might. i dipped into the tony blair memoir and it looks pretty interesting. i'm planning on going back to it.
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but it sounds like like bush picked a good week to come out. >> compassionate conservatism. is that fascist? >> in certain -- in certain aspects it's liberal fascist, yeah, i despite compassionate conservative. and there's one of these things that i -- from my liberty detractors you would think that i never -- or i should say detectors of liberal fascism you would think i have nothing but unvarnished praise and love for republicans and bush and the simple fact is i always hated compassionate conservatism. first of all, it struck me as not the conservative alternative to clintonism but the republican version of it. it was a lot of i feel your pain nonsense. i don't want the government to feel my pain. and, you know, i often joke and my last name is goldberg and i like my conservatism with more smity and wrath in it because i'm an old testament kind of guy. more seriously, when bush went
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around campaigning about compassionate conservatism. put that in almost any other context and you can see why it's inconsulting. first of all, i'm a different kind of jew. i'm a compassionate jew. i'm a different kind of catholic. i'm a compassionate catholic, right. it's offensive on the merit. secondly, it's untrue. identity slanderous. the idea that conservatism is uncompassionate rests on one of these grand categories on great society liberalism which is to say your worth as a human being, that the measure of your soul is directly correlatable to your commitment to vast inefficient government programs. and i think in many ways, you know, the compassionate conservatism was one of the reasons why the republicans got into such a mess is that admittedly a lot of it was just rhetorical b.s. and p.r. marketing and all the rest. but at a very basic level it
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gave up that the conservatism believes at its core in the classical liberal notion of limited government. and i don't think the conservatism as i say somewhere in the book -- i don't think that conservatism is purely, you know, rebranded classical liberalism. but a conservatism that won't conserve classical liberalism isn't worth conserving. if you don't have the skepticism about the ability of the state to make this a perfect world, to fill up people's souls, to do -- if you don't have the skepticism about the efficacy of simply thinking with your emotions and your gut and saying the government has to do something -- remember bush said on labor day in 2003, when somebody hurts, the government has to move. oh! it doesn't have to move. it doesn't have to do anything. if there's nothing it can do. or if it will only worse.
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there's a story, i think, in the "new york times" where the u.s. government on the one hand has this major campaign run by michelle obama to reduce obesity and unhealthy living. fine, you know it's not my favorite kind of government thing but it's a perfectly acceptable thing for a first lady to do, okay? the same agency that she's working with has worked with dominos and other groups to radically increase the amount of fatty cheese that people eat in order to boost dairy sales in the united states. this is the kind of nonsense you get when you have a public philosophy that says when somebody hurts, the government has to move even when -- 'cause what you have you have two different two groups who are hurting and by helping this one, you hurt these people more. governments get out of this thing and let people figure out how to fix their own hurts. >> next call for jo jonah
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goldberg, yonkers new york. >> caller: as a jewish person myself i'm especially interested in this. a few weeks ago c-span had on booktv they had the book called the unspoken alliance by sasha saran ski which i assume you're probably familiar with which talks about israel's long-standing relationship with the apartheid in is out africa and they went into the is out african documents which had never gone into before and it found out israel was trying to sell a nuclear bomb to is out africa in 1973 via sharon peres and there was no country in the world that was basically tighter than the apartheid government even trying to do business with the bad guys there after apartheid fell. >> steven, what's your question? >> caller: isn't there more outrage with jewish intellectuals, people like you,
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don't you think israel should pay massive, massive reparations to the people of south africa for keeping them in slavery-like conditions. >> i don't know anything about the back but i think massive reparations from israel to south africa -- with wanting to know more beforehand but on its face kind of sounds like a ludicrous, another way to take shots at israel. if it's true, it's unfortunate. i don't see myself as a jewish intellectual, just for the record. i've never been to israel. i don't regularly write that much about israel. i'm a staunch supporter of israel but -- i'll leave it there. i don't know anything about the book. >> dan dearborn writes in. was theodore roosevelt primarily
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response for the progressive movement in the u.s. and what is your opinion as u.s. president. >> this is a fun one. -- i assume at some point we'll get into this. you know, there's this new fad for going after woodrow wilson. and i should say newly popular because it's been a fad of certain conservatives whose research i used quite a bit and for writing my book for a long time. at the claremont institution which is a wonderful institution. in many ways glenn beck credits my book as one of the first things that really sort of turned him on onto this kind of stuff. in some ways that's a mixed blessing but i'm very grateful for the guy. anyway, one of the things that a lot of liberal critics of this wilson-bashing stuff is how come you guys don't go after theodore roosevelt just because he's a republicans, blah, blah, blah? and the short answer is, no. because i do criticize theodore roosevelt and so do a lot of the same conservatives who go after
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woodrow wilson. the first problem is that theodore roosevelt wasn't that bad as president. from my perspective. he doesn't start really imbibing this progressive stuff until he leaves office and wants to run for president again. you know, and so 1912 he starts -- he founded the bull moose party which is also the progressive party. and he would have been really bad news if he had gotten into office. he certainly is responsible for making the progressive movements and progressivism much more popular than it would have been without him. and his ideas from 1912 on about economics and all of these sorts of things are abysmal by my life. one of the problems, though, is that in much the same way that a lot of people on the left who really hate the imperialism and a lot of the stuff that winston churchill was involved in but have to concede he was one impressive guy, right? as a conservative, i can have
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the sort of -- the sort of cognitive dissonance or whatever you want to call it to say i have a huge amount of problem with theodore roosevelt's i had ideology and i was very glad -- he wasn't elected president in 1912 but i think he would have been better than wilson because t.r. was a more impressive and more humane person, a more decent human being than woodrow wilson. certainly less racist. but he was just an incredibly impressive guy. no one could read that edmond morris biography of theodore roosevelt. what a cool, interesting guy theodore roosevelt was. meanwhile, woodrow wilson is this, you know, human toothache who hated everybody. miserable guy. and he -- wilson makes it a lot easier to see, god, t.r. is cool. >> well, you kind of in liberal fascism you spent quite a bit of time with woodrow wilson. do you credit him with the founding of liberal fascism in america?
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>> no, by no means. in fact, this is one of the these things again a lot of the critics -- david greenberg at slate, michael lind did it orril la porte did a symposium why people are beating up on wilson now. and one of the defenses of wilson that you get from a lot of these guys is to say, you don't understand wilson was popular. you know, he can't be a dictator. he was popular. guess what? mussolini was popular. hitler was popular. dictators by all definition start out popular and that's why they become dictators. you can't be a dictator unless you have the masses with you. and so in many ways the argument that i make in liberal fascism is that woodrow wilson was feeding off of the intellectual currents of the age. that he was -- he was riding the wave as it were of american progressivism. and his ideas were a natural consequence of these ideas that start with william james'
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concept of the moral equivalent of a war that are tied in with things that jane adams had to say, that theodore roosevelt had to say. i mean, basically remember woodrow wilson runs to the right of teddy roosevelt in 1912. he is -- you know, his -- what was it? his new freedom for wilson, new nationalism for tr. wilson's new freedom is capital on the campaign trail and he said forget all that i'm going to be a progressive. and in his words, you better watch out. and so in no way do i think that wilson is responsible for american progressivism. but he's sort of the top of it. and he does some terrible things because of what's in the intellectual climate at the time. but it's entirely possible that theodore roosevelt would have done a lot of those things, too. >> when you hear politicians, jonah goldberg, talk about america being the greatest country in the world and talk about american exceptionalism, is that fascist?
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>> no. excuse me. >> but is it not a religion of the state? is it not -- >> no, no. it can be. to be sure, if you say -- if -- actually, i'm not even sure it can be. let's put it this way. all fascists believe in the exceptionalism of their country but not all people believe in the exceptionalism of their country are fascist. one of the reasons -- here's what i think of when i think of american exceptalism. we are not a status country and we're patriotic and there's a difference. that we have this idea that the state is there to do defined and limited things as spelled out in the federalist papers and in the constitution and that we are a liberty-loving people. one of my favorite social scientists, you know, he wrote about the differences between
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canada and the united states for years. and you can see this, you know -- the greatest lab experiment in many ways of the last 500 years was in north america where you had the canadian -- if you were a loyalist or a royalist at the time of the american revolution, you either stayed in canada or you moved there. if you were a loyalist and royalist and you're white admittedly in the 13 colonies you either moved -- if you were anti -- i'm sorry, if you were a loyalist or at royalist you left the 13 colonies and you moved to canada or stayed in canada and in the lockian revolutions the american founders were putting together this idea that, you know, our rights come from god and not from government. that we are sovereign, agree markets, free minds, limited government and all that kind of stuff, you stay here and 200 years later, arcadians are good and decent people, nonetheless, are perfectly comfortable with a much larger state than the american people are for the
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simple reason that's the way their culture feed stock. and so marty used to point out, you know, 40 years ago the united states government and the canadian government at the same time told the citizens that they were switching to the metric system and 40 years later everybody is on centimeters and kilometers and unless you're a science major you don't know what that stuff is and that's because we don't take orders of government from and we are this beacon of liberty that believes in limited government. and that believes in the pursuit of happiness as a god-given right. that is -- that is not in any way bad. the american revolution -- you know, conservatives there are games that play the fascists were called ring wingers are fascists and closer to fascism and what people don't understand is that in america, american
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conservatives are conserving the american revolution. we are revolutionaries generations later. preserving that tradition. and that is why everyone from friedrich hayek to samuel huntington pointed out that america is basically the only place in the world where a conservative can be a classical liberal. 'cause in places in europe means preserving the air stock ski and the crown and all those kinds of things. we fought a revolutionary war so we wouldn't be like those countries and that is one of the ironies of political discourse today it's the left and from paul krugman and obama and hillary clinton and say we want to be more like that and that is why so many on the left are at least in part so antagonistic to the concept of american
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exceptionalism because american exceptalism is this ideological and cultural bulwark that prevents the expansion of the state. we do things differently here. it's an argument the left hates to hear because they don't want to do things differently here. they want to have a social welfare state like they have in france. they want to have a national health service like they have in britain. and they think that to say, oh, well, americans are different and, therefore, we can't have those things is incredibly inconvenient and childish and all the rest and i say it's one of the things that makes this such a great country. >> this is booktv's "in depth" program, jonah goldberg, author, columnist, editor is our guest this month and brent from minneapolis, minnesota, you go ahead with your question. >> caller: hey, guys, how are you guys doing today? >> good. >> caller: hello. this conversation is so fascinating i'm not sure where to pick up. i called 20, 30 minutes ago when we were still talking about the definition of fascism and benito
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mussolini and i was pretty much astounded that mr. goldberg if mussolini hadn't taken on the status of dictator of italy he would have been maybe one of the top 10 intellectual individuals of the 20th century. and i was wondering if you could expound on that a little bit more. i guess i just don't remember mussolini having an intellectual side but that's not to say he didn't. and number two. and number three if you could take us back to the kind of purist intellectual discussion that was being had early about russo and the social contract and if you could talk a little bit more about the overtones, haggle and his philosophy and how -- >> there's three great questions. we've got a lot to work with. let's start with mussolini. >> sure. just to clarify, i didn't say he would be remembereds one of the top ten intellectuals but that he would have been considered one of the top socialist intellectuals of, you know,
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the -- of the serious left. at least that's what i meant to say, if i said otherwise. and, you know, he was cast by a lot of people as a bumbling oaf but he spoke and read numerous languages. he was friend -- he traveled in the same circles with lenin and trotski when he was in switzerland. he translated major philosophy into italian. was a deep student -- or at least he claimed to be a deep student of philosophy. mussolini was full of it and bragged beyond the reality of things quite often. but he was certainly fluent in all of these things. and was deeply respected by lenin trotski and deeply regretted when he broke away from the communist socialist movement in europe. and we can sort of leave it at that. but i mean --
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>> what was his reputation in america during the '20s especially? >> he was more popular than stalin. i mean, he was hugely popular in the 1920s. hugely popular in the new republic, you know, the flagship journals of american liberalism and american progressivism. was, you know, in surveys, he was found to be routinely listed as one of those admirable men. when the song "you're the top" came to the united states they changed the lyrics for the american audience and they change it you're the top, you're the houdini, you're the top, you're the mussolini. one of my favorite stories is when will rogers is appointed to the american ambassador at large for the u.s. press corps, the international press club, he goes on a fact-finding tour of europe and he comes back and -- he comes back and one of the first things he's asked by the doc at the "new york times" is what did you think of mussolini and will rogers says, that is some walk. i'm really high on that bird.
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but he was -- and i'm not saying he was truly admired by the left. he was admired by mainstream america who made the trains run on time. >> what has to his reputation. -- what happens to his reputation. >> it starts with the invasion of ethiopia. you know, mussolini and i mean this in a facetious way -- one of his big problems is he get on the imperial bandwagon when imperialism is no longer fashionable and that was really condemned. but, you know, what really ruins is his reputation is nazism and understandably so. but it's a much more interesting and complex story. you know, one of the things -- you know, i learned a lot of things while working on this book. and one of the things i found most fascinating was -- first of all, among the professional historians, there's a series debate about whether german
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nazism was fascist at all. ... all. and this was a debate that we had a time and a debate without ever since but i think it's probably fine as a matter of generalization to say they're both fascism and leave it at that that is not a cut and dried are you italian fascism is more interesting to me as someone who grew up on the other west side of manhattan, italian fascism was not anti-semitic. mussolini always said that we could never be anti-semitic because they were too many jews who are the founding fathers of italian nationals but jews were overrepresented italian fascist party until 1938 when miscellaneous a sidekick to hitler. the nazis say you have to get rid of the jews and all the rest. italian fascists until 1938,
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continental europe was fascist italy and really fascist spain. the italian fascists in harm's way to save jewish lives. not a single jew of any nationality was sent to the german death camps until 1943 after the germans take over italy and occupy it. this is not to exonerate the italians. siding with hitler in world war ii is a major black mark. they did some terrible evil thing is. we tend to play the movie backwards and say the holocaust happened and then everything leads to a holocaust, fascist or what not are equally culpable. more complicated story than that. >> host: the social contract? >> guest: the argument i make, i
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am being defensive about this because i have been so jumped on by russo defenders. there's something in russo, something about the idea of starting from scratch about deifying the general will, the general will saying the truth is more important than the individual. the group's expressed will of the group, tribal organic sense is one thing, the individual must conform or die. there's something in russo that gets the blood pumping of the fringe who lodged the terror. and start the world from scratch. if you look at the french revolution as a visitor from mars, or any -- the difference
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between fascism and bolshevism are small but if you look added as a visitor from mars, deeply nationalistic, uses terror as state policy to build its own people and try to weed out incongruent or dissonant voices, strings of paranoia, it looked an awful lot like a fascist revolution will look like and if you read mine, for which i don't recommend because it is just terrible. >> host: but you read it. >> guest: yes. there are parts i skipped. it is 700 pages and so much nonsense in it. the book worth reading is hitler's tabletop which is a group of transcripts of had perhaps conversations with his cabinet and friends from 42 to 45. it is fascinating. you get a sense of what he
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actually believed rafters and the half propaganda self-serving narrative stuff in mind,. because he was a novelist, opportunistic guy, what he sought was an idea that would inflame the minds of men and allow him to bend the masses to his will for power. i didn't borrow dogma or doctrine or public policy proposals, i borrowed this idea of in flaming the masses. this idea that would organizes the masses around me. what a lot of ideologue's admired about the french revolution was this idea of getting the masses so whipped up for radical change that could shake off their shackles and start the world fresh. >> host: the third point from
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minnesota. day. >> guest: in many ways the inspiration for the european intellectuals. this idea that the state was the dodd state. the march of god through history as a state or something like that. the distillation of the general will that comes off of govern society and guides society. it is what mussolini is getting at when he said there's nothing outside the state. this idea that destiny has called forth this state to achieve greatness and what not. i am sure there are those who
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think i completely bastardized what he really said. i will concede that if it is true but this is what people took from him at the time to justify their schemes and projects. >> host: jonah goldberg is our guest. we have two hours remaining with him. phone lines are/regions. if you live in the east and central time zone dial 377-zero 002. send an e-mail to our computers not working so we won't be able to take your twitters. jonah goldberg, is there one website people can go to read your commentary to see your book reviews or get snippets from your books? to read your national review
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columns and boggs? >> guest: no. i don't have a personal web site. up until six months ago i worked out of my home. i have so many deadlines that the idea of maintaining something like that with no help, i have no assistant, is too much. >> host: where can they go? >> guest: national review online. they can have a facebook page but i don't maintain it very much. >> host: is a good place to go? >> host: what is the web address? >> guest: our group blogger. it is one of my lasting
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achievements. that is where i hang out. a visiting scholar, my star when i came to washington, the policy note. >> host: can in columbus, ohio. explain your use of humor and a softer side. and your ability to persuade. >> guest: i was affecting farm work, and -- i think humor is very important. i don't think i am the funniest conservative by a stretch. p. j. o'rourke and mark stein
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are funnier. one of the -- and earlier caller, where he gets at it. they are up tight and hate life and missing profits. and to crack a smile. one of the important things, to younger people, you can enjoy life. you can be a real person. i am not saying national review, in many ways in sense of humor. and with rich lowry and others, national review was all latin puns and chester in quotes.
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won the thing that wanted to was inject, communicate to young people sympathetic with our ideas and public policy, and get girls in college. also wanted -- didn't want to give up liking what they like. one problem with bill buckley, i love bill buckley, to my last breath i will love bill buckley. he was so intellectual that a lot of people said i can't be a conservative and that is the standard. that guy probably doesn't eat a lot of chicken wings. if i want to combat that kind of thing, bill buckley was a guy who enjoyed life, i don't know who he was. one thing i tried to do was be self-deprecating because that is my personality. if you are in this business you
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should know what your personality is. i also think this is a vital tool for persuading people. and convince them we are not villains. for a lot of liberals one of the reason i wrote this book, for a lot of leftists the best definition of a fascist is a conservative who is winning an argument. we don't want to hear from you. if you can humanize conservatives and work against the demonization and show people that we like life which i do, most conservatives are more uptight than a lot of liberals i know, that is a huge cultural project and an important one for the cause. >> host: mark in california, hello. >> caller: can you hear me? >> host: we are listening. >> caller: i would like to ask you, you say you don't like when
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people stereotype republicans as archie bunker types but why haven't the national review and the american enterprise institute, why haven't they done anything to distance themselves from the many racist right wing radio and tv hosts like bill o'reilly and rush limbaugh, who all have long histories of saying horrible fans about african-americans. bill riley referred to mexicans as wetbacks, rush limbaugh said why do all black -- the wanted posters look like jesse jackson, dozens of these things. bob grant called martin luther king a scum bag. i don't know about you personally if you can answer the question that many people like you go on these shows, i hear people like this on the radio, or rush limbaugh praising him
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and stuff or praising rush limbaugh. why isn't there more from the, quote, civilize republicans to distance themselves from racists like bill o'reilly? >> guest: i have to stipulate these accusations you are making, so far as one comment from bob graham and bill riley are true. i haven't heard them. if they said those things they shouldn't have said them and i condemn those statements. this is sort of a game that a lot of people, both sides play. someone says something asinine and they must be pariahs from polite society. i don't agree with everything he says. i think he is a valuable
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contribution to the symphony of conservatism as it were. i don't think it is accurate to say that bill o'reilly and rush limbaugh are racists let alone say it as if it is an irrefutable judgment objectively arrived at. it seems to me you are pushing a political line. moving away from those personalities, one of the shining liberal accomplishments was being on the right side of the civil-rights movement. conservatism was on the wrong side of it. there are all sorts of interesting, worthwhile caveat and not reallys you can throw in after you make that statement but at the end of the day you have to make that statement.
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national review was wrong about the civil rights movement. the new republic was right to. i say that all the time and i understand why the fact that conservatives came out on the wrong side, republicans were more right about the civil-rights movement than the democrats were. more republicans voted and democrats did. and the republican party under eisenhower going all the way back to tea are at a better record than the democrats on race in almost every respect. woodrow wilson was the most racist president of the time. i understand why there's a cultural backdrop. one of those things that gets conservatives in trouble at least with collars and like you is this desire to be back against the sweatband of political correctness that says
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we all must see the world exactly the way liberals say it has to be seen. all of your pieties and the rest. sometimes that is a great humor for conservatives and sometimes inappropriate comments or probably ill considered. but you cannot say they are racist and must be separated. i'm not a big fan of michael savage but on the hole i noted i separate myself -- i am only responsible for things i say or national review does. i am not responsible for institutions and people i am not associated with. when i don't hear things they say they are in front of me and i correct them and i disagree but i can't go by your
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characterization. >> host: from proud to be right, liberal are dumb, everyone knows liberals led them from social security, there and less hairbrained schemes and subversive thoughts to corrupt our innocent children are eating away the very foundation of our great nation that will eventually collapse because of their corruption, greed and monstera stupidity. the world would be a more wholesome place if they would give up their wicked ways and become good and service. to hear many of the most popular conservative spokesman we might think so. it is a sad thing when an intellectual movement inspired by such high caliber scholars is publicly reduced to name calling, overgeneralizations and erroneous accusations represented above. >> caller: >> guest: to our think that conservative movement has a problem? i will put it this way.
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the movement is remarkably successful in the last 50 years starting from a handful of intellectuals like william f. buckley and milton friedman and robert knox was a little earlier and one of my favorites building on this small core of intellectuals, expanding into a series of -- now become this popular thing where something like gallup has 42% of americans identify as conservatives compared to 20% of americans describe themselves liberal. when you get a market that big you are going to have voices that speak only to that market and don't speak all that well to the average person outside of that market. it is one of these great games that both sides play where if they find people who are saying the things to their own side and say isn't that terrible?
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that is not what we normal americans believe. there is some merit to the idea that the ghettoization of conservatism which was necessary 30 years ago is less necessary now because conservatism is more mainstream than liberalism. some of the cheerleading stuff sometimes goes overboard. hi am very ecumenical about this stuff. symphony analogy i used earlier is the right one. in a good symphony you need to ballplayers and professionals and strings and all the rest. everyone has to play their separate note in the symphony. to say i don't like the big drums, let's get rid of the big drums is ludicrous. everyone has to play together. people criticize glen beck because he is always leaning
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forward. he is so falling forward and aggressive and has this enthusiasm that comes from learning stuff for first time and gets excited and what i love about that is because he doesn't play the system, hasn't grown up in the system, why is it crazy to have an hour dedicated to herbert crawler in national television? he does stuff that is wild. at the same time he oversimplifies things, overstates things. he would plead guilty to that pretty easily. that is trying to make the country better place, what is a good analogy? if you are going to tear down the edifice of liberalism, the house of liberalism the first guys to go in will be the ones with a sledgehammer and they are not subtle.
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they smashed out the fireplace and all the rest. then you have other guys who come in for the fine would work and painting and detail work and all the rest. someone like glen beck is a sledge hammer guy. we need a sledgehammer guy but i don't think necessarily everything about conservatism is sledgehammer work but what the left likes to do in the same way the right likes to do with the left is a focus on the sledgehammer guys and say this is what all conservatives are like and how they talk among themselves. the reality is that is not the case. the corner on national review online. my vision from the beginning was to have it be collegial water cooler talk among conservatives. as long as you are right of center you are welcome. the reality is real water cooler talk like faculty lounge talk is pretty vulgar and full of horrible things but the idea is
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to communicate the idea that we actually have -- we can draw fine distinctions and all rest. if you are getting your news and arguments from talk radio or cable-tv and this goes left or right, it is nutritionally insufficient intellectually and you need to draw on better sources. that doesn't mean we should get rid of talk radio. >> host: bill in berkeley, california, go ahead with your question for jonah goldberg. >> caller: thank you to c-span and booktv. i enjoy your work, your opinions. i am a professor at berkeley and two questions if i may. what meeting would you recommend for my students to introduce them or help them grow on the right side and for myself, what
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liberals would you recommend that i read to keep abreast of fog on the oththought on the ote aisle? >> guest: i'm trying to remember what you can google search for. but the contemporary iteration of conservative understanding that i agree with, would be conflict of positions. thevisions. the fatal conceit is great. i think if your higher level introduction of the personal george nash's conservative
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intellectual movement since 1945 is a great primer on the history of conservatism. there are people with different takes on that history but everybody, gravity of that book is orbiting at some extent or another in terms of understanding contemporary history. in terms of liberals to read these days, let's see. if you are talking about -- a berkeley professor who doesn't know. in terms of magazines, the new republic, do you read the new republic? less than i used to. it really suffers not because of its editorialship but it does a pretty good job. i sought the review thought the
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was asinine. i read paul krugman like i used to play with a loose tooth. it hurts but i do it anyway. similarly tom friedman. i don't have much use for him but it is worthwhile because other people have used for him. i am thinking he is an odd liberal. will wilkinson who writes the economist is more libertarian but sort of social liberal and a lot of ways. he is a brilliant guy. very worthwhile. >> host: they what keys over men? >> guest: i watch special report. other than that, i don't watch much cable stuff. i live and breeze the stuff during the day. last thing i want to do while
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relaxing is check in on the carnival stalls on cable. i find overman and matt alan -- i don't care about. so grating if you watch five minute you get it. i am sure liberals feel the same way about o'reilly. >> host: is it important to read things you don't agree with? >> guest: yes. watch different television shows people still not so much. i think special report is a great show. the panel at the end is good as you can get. i said that long before i ever appeared on it. a little goes a long way in terms of watching these talkers at night but reading stuff from different sources is incredibly important. the only way you can counterbalance these things.
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i get a lot more out of the washington post than i do the new york times also david brooks i find always worth reading. other than sociological purposes what is the new york times saying i never found a new york times editorial edifying. i often find washington post editorials and a fine. and the l.a. times is too overlooked inside the beltway. in terms of liberal historians, alan brinkley is a phenomenal historian. i always learn something and find his observations interesting. peter byheart who i debate is pushing further to the left these days but is still a friend
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and i debate him often and learn from him. i think jonathan shape's bloggers are more -- more annoying that i would like but the results he is trying to get from me. i find those pieces very useful. i don't have much use for the nation. i never have. i don't find it interesting. especially some christopher hichens. reading widely and diverse we at the end of the day, i used to be a tv person. tv is an entertainment medium. it simply is. if you are getting a handful of things on tbs, push as far as you can towards the educational informational as you can get. >> host: and not be irritating. >> guest: there's a tension there. as you can get within major
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television. you taken a third more information reading because your brain is wired. on the sunday shows people usually tune in to see what so and so is going to say about so and so. i don't tune in to find out something. george will this week on abc, people who like george will a lot-and colleague kato burns, who was on the cnn show for years, after ten years on the show, and she went through, not one letter from anybody to anybody on the show ever said thanks so much for changing my mind about x. it was all bob novak's letters were, great job sticking it to mark shields. never let him get away with.
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and way to go, use it up to such a bully. some personality driven medium. .. and that doesn't mean you shouldn't watch it. i'm actually exceeds tv guide. if all you're doing is getting news from a conventional television sources you aren't getting enough news. >> host: you are on with jonah goldberg. >> caller: hello. somebody who realizes of the people are filibustering the whole show. i would like to have your opinion on the situation of a woman's right to choose. state-by-state. you know, colorado who was against the right to choose.
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who would be the authority on that? who would monitor the birth of a woman if she was raped jack went to government have to do that? >> host: we get the point. thanks. >> guest: duly noted on the filibuster in complaint. yes. it's one of those things, sort of like slavery. at the end of the day the federal government was right to smash the institution of slavery many good things were lost in the process, but the end result, the ultimate goal elway those things. needed to be destroyed. much the same way with jim crow in the 1960's. these are democratic tyrannies that needed to be crushed in order to ensure that african-americans enjoyed full rights under the law. i find it regrettable that it
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was necessary, but it was. it seems to me that is one of the places where abortion is very similar. it's that this fundamental question. if you are a human being is you can't be a slave. if you're a human being you can't be killed by somebody. you can't leave that up to states. so my sense is there even though i personally would like to see roe v. wade destroyed or undone de and this is she said back to the states, i think the country would have been healthier if it had been left to the states and you had a national compromise without the federal government coming in, at the end of the day it is the kind of thing that has to be decided that the federal level. i don't believe you will ever permanently banished. as it stands right now we have one of the most liberal abortion
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regimes in the western world. much more pro abortion that they have in europe and. you can have reasonable restrictions and move toward a day when this is not an issue. that will come from science more than anything else. yet. but abortion is one of those things. it would double back up. hands>> host: when you hear the phrase i am conservative on economic issues and liberal on social issues what is your response? >> guest: i will my eyes and john. i can't tell you how many liberals you need to want to come around with you. i am with you. i am an economic conservative. the problem with that is you have these principles that you hold dear. you're just not willing to pay for them.
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so there is this obsession that comes from generally generated by the journalistic elites in washington who like to call themselves social liberals and fiscal conservatives. they think there is this great mass of people out there just like them. the masses aren't these pool of narcissists. there is a problem you get. they keep saying the republican party will solve all its problems if it just gets rid of these crazy social conservative christian service and adopts this conservative ideal. there is no evidence that is true. we know that christian conservatives are an indispensable part of the republican electoral.
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the michael bloomberg constituency is a rounding error . somehow jesting the conservatives it would be electoral suicide. if you go around the country and look, fiscal conservatives means a lot of different things for different people. they tend to buy into those doctrines and vice versa. it turns out those people are completely useless when it comes to the economic issues. there are the numbers that the help the party.
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>> host: show in queens new york. go ahead with your question. >> caller: good morning, gentlemen. what you think the media says obama is biracial? >> host: what is the second question? >> caller: do you think obama disowned his mother? >> host: got the point. the issue of president obama as race, does it matter? >> guest: i think it matters, to be sure. i'm not sure it matters in the context of this caller. it is a great and wonderful fang . i personally probably would prefer it if he had described himself as multiracial. it is his choice. he writes about this in his memoirs. that is entirely legitimate and
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fined zero. i don't think he is rejecting his mother. there's not any place to say whether he is or isn't. you know, this is one of those issues. huge salience and residents. for americans black and white, it's going to get people to take interest. >> host: author, columnist, scholar. we have about an hour and a half left. recently we went over to his office at the american enterprise institute and learned about his riding habits. >> i always wanted to be a writer. for a big chunk of college i wanted to write science fiction novels. one day i hope to go back to it.
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i grew up in a very journalism driven family and i always liked writing from a very early age. and i first came to washington i produced a tv series called a think tank. a scholar here back in those days. i was working as a research assistant. i became a television producer. i wrote on that. i started doing documentary's. a realized i did not like being a television producer, in part because when you are a tv producer there are so many intermediaries between you and the final product. there is talent. as limitations of the technology . as the grasp of the technology, the editing process to all these
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people who did in the way. every single thing. may have been negotiated, but that's fine. really it is a process. this is the entrance to the lounge. and so usually with a cigar in my hand. i love coming to an office. visibly working in an office still comes very and naturally to me. a kind of like disappearing from places with lots of distraction. it's also nice to set up here and have a conversation. often some of the others dollars to smoke will come up here. it's a nice, and formal way of doing tang's.
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so you know i have been working from home for the last 11 or so years. when i came here it corresponded to what we were doing, worked on my house. it's been completely gutted. all my bookshelves and all that had to be stored away. this is really the -- i don't know -- maybe 10 percent of all of my books. 5 percent. a lot of my favorite books a year. the decline of american liberalism is a forgotten and wonderful classical liberal history of american progressivism that i highly
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recommend. certainly if they like my book they would find that very interesting. up here is the conservative intellectual movement in america, which is one of the sort of founding texts of modern american conservatism. it's one of these weird ironies. it is technically a history of modern conservatism, but it is so influential in our understanding. it is part of the canon of it. it is like, i don't know, the heisenberg's uncertainty principle. merely through historic matches, his art of observing the conservative movement. segmented or solidified a certain narrative of the movement. there are some people who have criticisms of the book, but everybody respects it. even on the left heel around washington conservative circles.
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he should find a copy. it's a great book. one of the fangs, the degree of influence that american pragmatists had on fascism. the way pragmatism in many ways was a core philosophical driver of movements in europe and the united states during the progressive era and during the era of fascism. something i want to revisit in my next book. i find it very interesting. pragmatism and the indication is one of the truly great cons in modern political. ♪
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c-span2 jonah goldberg, you say that your mother and father are your greatest influences. why? >> guest: his name was sidney kohlberg. he was a very intellectual kind of guy. if you do will hoffenberg you will find the eulogy i wrote to my father. he died about five years ago. to use one of his phrases he was a peculiar duck. a very intellectual guy. extremely funny. a dry sense of humor. if he did not pay attention to what he was saying it would go right past you.
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he did not have a lot of hobbies one of his greatest hobbies was going on long walks with his sons and talk about anything and everything in the world. he was -- he dropped out of the ph.d. program at the university of michigan. he had a master's from nyu. very much a classic neocon. for about 50 minutes he flirted with ideas and came to his senses. a big chunk of any education i actually have comes from my father. speak one what did he do for a living? >> guest: he was an editor and journalists. as he rose up in the media company that kept getting bought by larger media companies he moved to the business side. the end of his life he had worked for the united media which counts among other things peanuts and that kind of thing. he was on the comic strips side of things as much as anything
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else. for most of his life he was an editor. he would assign writers and reporters to hundreds if not thousands of writing assignments all across the country. one of his favorite place to start a conversation was he know what would make a good article, you know what would be great to have someone asked. that is how he thought about things. and so he worked for -- he worked for syndicates, news service, parent company of the company he worked for. he grew up. deeply involved. >> host: some people might know your mother. lucy and gilbert.
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she was the perfect complement to my dad. my dad was deeply intellectual. always reading a different book. my mom is much more vicious and much more, sort of, enthusiastic about life. as we were discussing earlier this morning she recently quit smoking after a mere six decade medallion. she was in many ways -- one of the reasons why i have always had -- the purchase of feminism never really took hold on me. my mom was always very strong and independent woman he took flight from nobody. one of my earliest memories.
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back then we called them winos. costing me on my way home from school. my mother grabbed him and beat the tar out of the guy until she realized that he was just playing and i had been scared. she was briefly an auxiliary mounted police woman. she was involved in some scandalous stuff with the nixon administration. she was a ghost writer. she was a literary agent. she was a burst onto the national scene during a scandal when she was a woman who suggested to lead the trip that she tape-recorded conversations. she runs a website. a great web site. it still active. she stopped doing the radio show a few years ago. we talk all the time. i get a lot of my introverted nature from my dad and my
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extroverted nature from my mom. >> host: does she miss smoking? and what did she do with the no-smoking movement start? >> guest: a forceful personality. i remember distinctly coming to a visitor from college. we would go out to dinner. she would take an ash tray out of her purse and put it on the table and start smoking. basically her attitude was commended me. and she was always like that. she still is like that. very aggressive personality. >> host: this is book tv "in depth". our guest is author and columnist and editor jonah goldberg. "liberal fascism," "proud to be right". new york city. go ahead with your question. >> caller: hello. great to be here. a long wait. and happy to speak to you. i am a former mcgovern liberal who is now 80 party supporter. i know what it is like to be
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behind enemy lines. i really love your column and your book. at think it's the perfect cover. in america it feels like liberals want to give you a hug. very difficult to speak to liberals here in new york. but my two points. one of liberals and the other on president obama. liberals seem to prefer cultivating victims and the victim mentality so that they can feel morally superior and better about themselves even though their policies for everyone including people that they seem to want to help. that is one thing. it seems like they do things over and over again expecting different results which is the definition of insanity. the second thing i would like your comment on, by the way, a book i read, the psychological causes of political madness.
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he prefers to liberalism as a hypnosis. i have seen a lot of comments about that. it seems like their is a lot of craziness in the ability to reason. >> host: we have two questions thanks so much. >> guest: on the first one. >> host: victimization. >> guest: i think you're right that's absolutely true. i think that one of the break through accomplishments of fdr was to turn citizens and to clients. this idea that if you can get people dependent on government one way or the other -- don't just mean welfare, but middle-class entitlements and all sorts of other things, then they will, as rational human beings, vote their interests as they see them, which means expanding what government can give them. one way you play on people's emotions in order to the expand
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the role of government and create new glasses, the children being one of the great examples is by this idea of victimization in some ways i think it's a sort of trojan horse version of the european politics, this idea of telling people you are born in a certain cast or class were status. you'll be there for the rest of your life. he will do our best to make it as a miserable as possible. what the conservative republican approach is is that, you know, the only one standing in the way between you and your destiny is you. hard work. free country. pursue happiness. if you want to be a millionaire work to be a millionaire. there are no guarantees. that is what freedom is about. i don't know the book. i do not like the partisan
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differences. generally speaking it can sometimes work when you're talking about a specific person. if you understand their personality you can talk about their psychology and how it interrelate to politics. but to talk about liberalism kuala liberalism as a psychological phenomenon is problematic as talking about the services and as a psychological phenomenon. there is an history that is still unfolding. liberals and academics trying to render conservatism into a mental defect. chino, and charitable mental gesture. you have berkeley putting out studies, breaking out the caliper's. they're going crazy trying to figure out how the bumps in your head or how many loves you have explains why he liked tax cuts. you have people who get involved
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with all this nonsense about framing and have your brain processes tough. it goes back to people like herbert mccloskey and theodore edoardo who try very hard to make it sound as if anybody who was not loyal to mainstream liberalism was daft. i think it is profoundly undemocratic and can lead to very dangerous things. once you make things into a medical issue he say, well, their is a place for curing people of this kind of stuff. that is not what a democracy and free country is supposed to be about, trying to and as to size the critics of the certain prevailing etiology or lobotomize them or cure them in some other way. it also assumes that you cannot through reason persuade people that they're wrong. if you give up that belief you have given up on democracy. >> host: go ahead, larry. >> caller: hello.
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i just have a couple of questions. i saw that you work for been one bird. i read a book of his several years ago. are you familiar? >> guest: i'll profess i did not get a chance to read it. i know is argument about demographics. >> caller: i am wondering why that never worked its way into the mainstream. this stuff we are hearing coming out from the academics and the politicians don't square with that book. >> host: thank you. >> guest: basically been spent much of his career being a part a list. more babies is good. i basically agree with him on that. mark stein has been carrying this low for a while. my colleague at the national review. the demographic problems that you get into when you start having a low replacement of
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great, fertility rate. huge problems for entitlements and social security to read it creates problems for economic growth, the aging of society, and all the rest. at think it is -- it is a very difficult and perilous thing to interject into mainstream politics. it is one thing to have your mother in law say it, but it is another when the government tells you to have more babies because, you know, if you are reading in liberty you're supposed to have this many dates as you want to have and not more it is a complicated thing, but it does have serious demographic and therefore economic issues. >> guest: on going to combine to e-mails. one from lynn in pittsburg. and what was the less reaction? in most of the interviews i saw
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him all they did was comment on the cover of the book and did not address the content. that is number one. number two is j matthews for marineville. liberal fascism was coming out. did it seem like it would have been more perfect the time dividend described the obama wave that swept through 2008? >> guest: the reactions of the book, you know, there were a lot of pre-emptive attacks. i think the economists first started making fun of it a year-and-a-half before it came out. frank rich started making fun of it two years before it came out. a lot of left wing blotters long before it came out. a lot of snickering and what not. very frustrating. you want to defend what you're doing. at the same time you want to sell the book. it was a very frustrating process.
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you know, my amazon paige was attacked numerous times with let's say less than flattering images replaced in the book. you know, some of it was certainly to be expected. what i am doing really is a serious bit of revisionism. i am knocking out the support structure for vast assumptions about political organization, political morality, understanding of history, and i am also -- i pull a lot of skeletons out of closets about what the progressive movement, how racist it was, how many nice things they had to say about mussolini, how terrible woodrow wilson once. these were not things the liberals wanted to hear. a lot of my main detractors were not huge fans of me in the first place. they really wanted to do a shoot the messenger thing.
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at the time it seemed overwhelming and crazy. my editor gave me great advice. he said this is like one of those and medtronic pirates of the caribbean rides at disney world. these monsters can lunge out at you, but they can't really do anything. but i'm more disappointed, after the initial this hysteria and silliness i expected at some point to get a more serious treatment from some of the more intellectual places. yet i have to say with a very few exceptions i don't think there was a single liberal review that i thought very much of. there were a lot of critical stuff from the white at think was very good. serving the second half of the book which was of rob of stuff. you know, one of the most telling refuse was the new york times.
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the new york times review eight a week before the book came out. not normally what publishers like. the review was clearly not to praise kohlberg, but to tear down the book. yet the vyshinsky, a historian at the university of texas some what can densely but relatively accurately describes what the argument is. fascism was a phenomenon of the raft. hitler was objectively defined. woodrow wilson was aware of the fascist dictator. he describes all that. then he says goldberg becomes less persuasive when he gets to fdr. well, some hundred and 30 pages and. at that point it's really just commentary. there was not a single substance of a bottle in any of my argument. the first hundred and 30 pages of the book. the new republic review was
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basically a hissy fit. the "washington post," if memory serves, was sort of equally insubstantial. it took two years for the history news network which is an online enterprise to really come after a. it was organized. at first did not invite anybody who liked the book. and it was a huge relief to me. one of the people who attacked the book was robert paxton who is the dean of. i found all of his criticisms, the vast majority were factually inaccurate or characterized things that he just misread. you read these reviews and realize, man, i kind of hit the targets. when i was writing the book he
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see all sorts of stuff. this can't be true. how come i didn't know this? and, you know, check your sources. recheck your sources. you all these mainstream things as best you can. and then the critics come out. you're like, there are a few things wrong. i got a couple numbers wrong. a lot of it is certainly open to debate. the fundamental arguments, i did not see very many directed back. the second question was about the timing. president obama. a lot of people think the book was aimed at obama. the funny thing is i started writing the book. just like everybody else, i had no idea who he was. and then the book comes out. six months or a year later he's running for president.
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all of a sudden, you know, he is running as this figure with this massive deification of the people. wheely religious language. we are the ones we have been waiting for. they train their door knocking volunteers to not talk about the issues. according to the new york times the tell their volunteers to testify about how they came to obama the way one might talk about coming to jesus. all of this stuff. he openly said, there is this funny thing. liberals are constantly at odds with themselves. when reviewing my book they all say i'm an idiot for saying that contemporary liberals are heir to a residence in. the liberals talk to mainstream audiences it is all about how wonderful the progressives were. barack obama going to the
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university of wisconsin saying what better place than year to reaffirm the principles of my campaign. i think as say in the new version you have to give the night some benefit of the doubt and assume he does know what is talking about. racist imperialists who would have been horrified at the idea of his father even coming to the united states let alone the son of an african becoming the president of the united states. you have a hillary clinton -- and this is the word playing. she is asked by somebody what is a liberal and are you one. well, i used to, so liberal. liberal use to me is standing up for the freedom of individual against the power. she did okay defining liberal.
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the priests in the american political tradit i would like to ask people. imagine if mike kuchar b, who are not a huge fan of, but if he was a candid at a debate and someone asked him what is a conservative and are you won, would reduce say. it used to mean this, but now it means this. that is why i don't call myself a conservative. i call myself a modern confederate. .. era when these guys were races and genesis and nasty
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to genesys, or pro-fascist in the 1920's that no one cares because progressive just means good now. conservative means bad, progressive means if it's progressive music without to listen to the worse. know, i it is progressive coffee it's got to be good coffee. iry to it just means nice now. one of the things i try to do st is progressive like a liberal has meaning and i try and made reattach it and it passed a lot of people off. if obama had come out and talk that render five.if in some ways people to see it as it an attack obama any of such sensitivities in 2008 it was wrr unbelievable. you had one writer at slateyingy magazine saying that any reporter who describes obama as skinny as guilty of aiding and y abetting racism because that gon calls attention to his appearance and all that kind ofn stuff. while -- you know, while he was running, pin it on me, i don't know. >> host: proud to be right
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published by harpers. why not a sental, threshold conservative? >> guest: that's an easy thing, and i'm not here to disparage other institutions or anything like that. basically, i've been talking to adam bellow for a long time about a book and nothing worked out, and then i came up with the idea of liberal phackism, and he loved it and i wrote a proposal, and i told my agent, at the time, it's not adam's idea, he doesn't own it, but i feel i should work with him. i have a nice repore with him. you only write your first book once, so he made us an offer, and if it's fair, we'll do it. that's how it happened, and it's still an adam bellow thing. he asked me to edit and write
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the introduction. my next book is not with him, and, you know, -- >> host: what it's about? >> guest: the title is tyranny of political cliches. it talked about fragmentism and i can have a little more fun. before liberal fascism, i was developing a picture of being a funny writer. tyranny cliche allows me tore free willing. you know, talking about a book too much is a jinx. >> host: was he your editor for conservative authors? >> adam came up under irwin, an important guy at free press, and
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adam is carrying that torch now. >> host: is it a crowded market? >> guest: there's a lot of conservative editors out there. they usually -- no, there's little outposts at publishing houses, but there's a lot of, you know, successful books put out, but adam's been sort of at the scene of a lot of great stuff, and, you know, we're friends, and i think, you know, it's like a lot of these things. it's very important to have serious, committed, smart, reasonable conservative at liberal institutions. you just don't want a bunch of conservative institutions only in a ghetto. you want to have people at the "new york times," not just another washington times to only deal with conservatives. politics is about persuasion, and if all we have is admiration
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for the society and say how great these guys are and how bad they are, you can't join the ranks, and there's no progress like there should be in the real world of politics. you know, taking back these institutions or getting a fair hearing at the institutions should be a real priority. >> host: next call for jonah goldberg. it's jeff. thank you for holding. go ahead. >> caller: thanks, great work. i wondered if the author could talk about the liberal fascism fight in the rising of entitlement that is the main source of nourishment of this new fascism. >> guest: okay. i'm not burning with desire to have everything in liberal
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politics called liberal fishism even if it gets me more royalty checks. it's not helpful for society. that said, the sense of entitlement thing is a huge problem. there's a piece on how the end of history for american liberals now is in some ewe top ya or anything like that, it's the american college campus. there's a weird thing happening in the culture where you have these young, smart, generally well-to do kids, who feel the freest they've ever been, and they don't internalize the contradiction that their food is cooked for them, dporms are cleaned for them, security is provided by somebody else. they are pampered in ways that european kings couldn't imagine
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being pampered 500 years ago, and they somehow think that this is the way society should be, that the government should be in the business of boosting everybody's self-esteem and making everybody feel good. bill clinton had a line with the clinton initiative where he said, i have only two aims in my life now. make sure no one dies before his time, and to ensure that everybody can make a meaningful contribution. now, that to me is ewe toppian. that is a religious agenda and arrogant agenda to set for yourself, but you have on college campuses a culture that says the only real crime you can commit other than, you know, real crimes, is to offend someone's self-esteem or harsh someone's mellow.
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you have kids that come out of college, internalized this idea of how society should operate, and they want to extend this experience for as long as possible. you have people like barak obama and michelle how they rejected the sort of real private sector and went into the helping professions. michelle said chicago to turn down the hedge fund jobs, give up on wall street. go in and do something that helps society, be nurturers and stuff. this idea of extending health care coverage until your 26 so if you fall off the couch been accident, you can still be rushed to the emergency room. the way the restructuring student loans to extend adolescence through your 20s. you have a big front page piece in the "new york times" magazine recently because your brain
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isn't fully formed until you are 25, we need to extend add adolescence longer and have a federal program with an amish thing where kids have fun for a year before they get married. there's going to be a federal department that will work out great. you listen to the way liberals talk about this and how the loans are forgiven if you go into working for the government. it seems to me there's a conservative political effort to turn society into a less productive, less free market thing, and more into this, you know, mushy gushy kind of giant college campus. >> host: you wrote recently that elections of 2010 could put the right in disarray. that and the tea party movement, what do you think of that? >> i love the tea party movement, but like all things i
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love, doesn't mean they are great. i love bourbon, but it's not great. i like scotch too, i could talk about that all day. they have down sides too. i think the tea party is healthy for the republican party and it's allowed the republican party to regrow a spine. they organized a political conversation. i think that the -- at the same time the reason why the 2010 elections could put the gop in disarray, i'm optimistic, i think john boehner and guys are handling this well. it's not a revolution in talking about, you know, vast, sweeping rad cam changes and all that stuff. they are saying listen to the american people, do what we can, and lower expectations a little bit. it's none of the entry rhetoric.
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any way, the reason they could be in disarray is for the simple reason when you are a minority party, unity is easy because you want to be the majority party again. when you're a majority, by definition, you are bringing in different groups, different members of a coalition, different people who disagree about what the priorities should be and all of the rest, and it doesn't mean that it has to fall apart. you know, fdr's coalition had, you know, communists, blacks, and clansmen in it. he made that coalition work for 50 years, long after his death, but it's hard because the nature of majority coalitions is that you're the one who has to govern, and to govern is to choose, and second of all, you have different groups with different things in them. the tea partyers come in riding into town whooping and hollering
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saying we want to slash and burn the government, and i agree with a lot of that message, but at the same time, the gop needs to recognize that they need to win more elections before they can really make the real progress they need to. that's a healthy tension to make. i would like if they are more on the side of the tea party than not, but they're going to be disappointed people no matter what they do. >> host: next call, franklin in los angeles, hi. >> caller: hello. jonah, i'd like to ask you -- hello -- >> i'm listening. >> caller: i'd like to ask you the national review, correct me if i'm wrong, but i don't think they've ever had a black person in a top editorial position at national review. is there one now? has there ever been one? you brought up earlier people were talking about the ray
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racism and you claim not to know anything about this. have you heard of media matters or fairnd in accuracy and reporting? they document tons of ray cyst things that people like rush limbaugh and shawn han disarray say. the there's the most ray cyst guy on radio is shown's mentor. you are a friend and christopher hitchens destroyed his science in the 90s -- >> host: okay, got the point. there's a lot on the table. >> guest: i don't think much of media matters. i think they are a left wing outfit that thinks basically their tactics are justified because they are always right. i gave up on them when they accused people of being a racist. they are limited as far as i'm
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concerned. in terms of has there been a black guy at national review. you know, personally, i don't know. in terms of the senior editor position, i don't know. you know, lots of black people have written for the magazine. lots of black people are contributing editors to the magazine. i don't know if shell by stehle and tom are on the mass head, but they are in there. >> host: is it important to you. do you think there should be a black person on? >> guest: on the -- yes or no. i want there to be more black conservatives, so, if there was a great black conservative who we could get to work for the magazine, that'd be great, boo-ya. robert george, a black guy, a friend of mine writing for the
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magazine is a conservative. it doesn't make sense to cast around for some, you know, token black guy just so he can, you know, respond to callers like this. callers like this cause raisism no matter what and until we're rushed under the heel of david brock or something like that, there are enormous numbers of black republicans out there. allen west just got elected. i wish there were more. wes, who is not black, but indian-american, is the living, breathing, intellectual heart of the magazine, and we cherish his contributions not because he's a minority, but because he's a volingen. he's brilliant. what is racist? you go into the room, count three black guys, two hispanics,
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and one asian or go into a room and see people. this approach on why don't you have black people in your company. i think that's more raise itch. it's tiresome. >> host: should americans take seriously his doomsday warnings or is he a showman? you have written several columns in usa today defending glenn beck, how do you feel he faint sized about him getting he headed in india? >> guest: i didn't hear the show, if he said that, that's awful. he shouldn't have said it, and it sounds awful, and sounds dumb, but at the same time, i've learned not to trust every rendition of reality from
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e-mail. i want to see what he actually said, but taking the e-mailer at his word, that's terrible. in terms of glenn's doomsday stuff, it's not like, you know, we are a member of the same bowling team or anything like that. we're not buddies, but i think what he is doing as a net benefit, and i really admire his ability to communicate with all the re, but i don't agree with everything he says. sometimes he goes overboard. the doomsday stuff, it depends what you're referring to. it seems to me he's got a wide collection of them, but he's been talking about the problems with debt and overleveraging of the government for a very long time, and those don't seem to be entirely without merit. i would not go to glenn for the last word of economic analysis, and i think he would be shocked if i would say otherwise, but i certainly think a lot of his
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stuff, you know, is perfectly valid. i don't think he's merely a showman, but there's nothing wrong with being a showman. you need different horses for different courses. people who say he's an idiot, i don't think so. i think he's bizarre. he gets people to read books in a way that no one else on cable television, no one else on television does other than c-span, but this is in a different way, and, you know, you can't say he's this, you know, represents this incredibly dumbing down of america while at the same time he's making the road to number one again. they are at odds with one another. he leans forward too much. i think he's at a fever pitch not sustainable over the long run, but he's a net benefit, and i don't think -- i'll say this, if he's not a libertarian, i wouldn't like his
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pop pewism at all. i think there's a difference between -- >> host: why? >> pop pew lism is a phenomena, but what it generally does is, you know, when jennings brian had a great line the people of nebraska are for free silver, i am, and i'll look up the arguments later. passion and enthusiasm is great in politics until it goes crazy and can be danger. one of the things the conservatives believe in it channeling enthusiasm in a healthy manner, and that's what the regime is about is puts ambition against ambition and all of the rest. that said, it seems to be there's a qualitative difference between a libertarian popularrism and a status
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popularrism where you get the government in our lives. some people call me a hypocrite, but i guess what i say is william buckly had a line. look, we have in the context of the soviet yiewn i don't know an the united states, if you have a guy who pushes an old lady in front of a bus and the other who pushes her out of the way from the bus, they aren't necessarily pushes ladies around. the tea parties are entirely healthy at this point because they are talking about restraining the role of government and expanding liberty,. if they got perverted into another pop pew -- popularrism, that would scare me, but i don't see evidence yet. >> host: your scheme could be the pin steers. >> guest: there you go.
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>> host: you're on, go ahead. >> caller: get your take on the compatibility of atheism with conservativism, and if they are con patible, how do you get around the unalienable rights that are given to us from our creator. where else could they come from for an atheist? >> guest: that's a great question. you know, basically what i do in my book is i define being a right winger in the anglo american context. there's to pillars of conservism. there's a social conservatism and all the rest, and then the free market libertarian, limited governments, free minds and free market perspective. for national review, we have
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what we call fusionism marrying the conservatisms. a vir choose act is not virtuous unless it is freely chosen. you have to have free society. generally speaking, i don't think you need to be a believer. i'm a secular guy myself. i don't think you need to be a believer to be a conservative, but you have to have some kind of republic for religious belief. you have to have an open mind towards people who derive politics on a morality from their religion. i don't think there's a problem with atheists being conservatives. about the endowed by the creator thing is one of the thing i love about the founding fathers is that the declaration of independence, being endowed by our creator thing was one the
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great philosophical puns of human history. rather than trying to prove we all have rights, they simply asserted, and the word creator is a political phrase that's brilliant because it is as expansive as it can possibly be to allow for a different point of view, and i don't know have many right leaning or otherwise conservative atiests who disagree with the idea we are all endowed with inalienable rights. i know barak obama is leaving out the creator part on some speeches, and that's fine in a different argument, but i don't know if you can't believe in the founder's project. i'm not an atheist, but i don't think there's necessarily odds. >> host: some liberal fascism ruled by treasure. political correctness is not
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terroristic, but it governs through fear. no serious person can deny that the greefns politics of the american left keeps decent people in a constant state of fright. they are afraid to say the wrong word, utter the wrong thought or offend the constituency. next call is from illinois. go ahead, bob. >> caller: hi, jonah. i'm wondering what you thought of john stuart and his rally. >> guest: bob, what did you think of it. >> host: right, right, but, what did you think about that? >> caller: i'm tried to compare jonah with ted stephens suggesting that he should be in a hotel with no trial or jury with no rights at all, and i'm wondering what he thinks of john stuart having ted stephens on the same thing. all right, thanks, bob.
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>> guest: i think it's a -- i'm shocked it took this long for this to come in. they reprinted it. it was my syndicated column, and basically i asked the question why isn't the guy dead yet? if you read the whole thing which many critics are incapable of doing. at the end i said, you know, i'm not calling for him to be kill. it's against the law to kill him. i don't know if the viewers pronouncuation is right or i'm wrong. i don't think he's a hero, but the point of the column is that i say in the column is that we have these very romantic hollywood ideas about what our intelligence agencies do, right? you know, in the jason bourn movie, you have pillow cases
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over his head. you have the right and left fantasies and all the rest. we have tse .. about what can happen and what does happen, and they tend to be sort of way beyond the reel realm of reality. i discuss that in the column. i got to say, again, i didn't call for the guy's assassination, but the comparison with ted stephens is weird also because i just think that was one of these things it was one of these things that john stewart didn't get his homework and got busted on and is too embarrassed. maybe this will get all the blinking lines in the phone room to go cold. one of the things i find hilarious about -- forget the ignorance and misreading of what i wrote, but the knee-jerk
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defense of julie and haunts by the left for the most part these of the same people who fought the exposure of valerie plane by karl rove was one of the most dastardly act in modern american politics. he looked -- put her life in danger allegedly. a don't think it is true. this sort of bending spoons on their high chair hissy fits that we heard. there's a movie coming out about what a hero and murder she was and how dangerous it was and how horrible but he did. it is regrettable and all the rest but i don't think it was a plan to put her in danger or anything like that. but he is doing wholesale what retail -- channel these people claiming how crazy it is to talk about this kind of thing and
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what a hero the guy is and the don't understand how you can think carl rove for bob novak, were committing almost according to some people for a lead treasonous despicable acts and celebrate this guy who was out afghans and iraqis working in dangerous circumstances working with american troops overseas, sources and methods on a vast scale and think this guy is wonderful for it. it baffles me. >> host: next call for jonah goldberg. phoenix, you are on the air. >> caller: good afternoon, folks. of the like to ask jonah goldberg, i know william f. buckley was a big influence on you and i think you knew him. >> guest: a little bit. >> caller: question about him. you said your mother -- what is
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your dad's name? you said they were big influences on you. i was wondering since you are so involved in issues and politics, none of the three of them never did anything in the 60s for the civil-rights movement. lie with a nod in the barricades with martin luther king trying to get civil-rights in this country? are never understood why these conservatives are so revered. they did nothing and now you're complaining because someone is asking if you have one black person and national review and you accuse them of been counting. >> guest: remarkably silly question. this guy has no clue what my mom and dad redoing for civil-rights. but as if because they didn't march with martin luther king that somehow it is a reflection on me that there were any influence on me. put a crack pipe down.
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as i said earlier william f. buckley in national review were flat wrong in their opposition to the civil-rights movement. they simply were. it is regrettable but something conservatives need to be honest about. and the reason why i rejected the bean counting stuff about not having a black guy on national review stems from the fact-the conservative movement today has a more authentic version of martin luther king's version which says we shouldn't go around judging people by the color of their skin but by the content of their character. but they want to digitize and categorize society according to these traits. i am all in favor of looking at what national review says that whether william f. buckley was wrong or right. what are find funny is i find out what liberals say or did and all the rest and that gets a
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giant so what. who cares if the new republic was in favor of fascism or that somebody in the progressives was of to the bone racist and eugenics. that has nothing to do with today. even though liberals today lionize these progressive heroes as influences and champions but when i say i admire william f. buckley is considered to be damning in a way because he didn't do enough on civil rights. there's no consistent standard. the reason i admire william f. buckley is he was the founder of the conservative movement. one of the most charming people i ever met. the best manners of anybody i ever met. he was never anything but gracious to me and was a brilliant guy who contradicted the slander stereotypes that every conservative was on knuckle dragging. beating people like gore vidal and nome chomsky in debates.
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those are perfectly legitimate things to respect. >> host: who is william f. buckley today? is there an air? >> guest: no because we don't need one today. the national review was founded in 1955, was this incredibly weird, diverse, disorganized thing called modern conservatism. it was a year or two before, there are no conservative ideas currently at play and we have all of these institutions that carry that mantle and the movement is so much bigger than can be categorized. >> host: you write about understanding political conservatism their only three basic positions. there is the racism of the life
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which seeks to use the state to help favored minorities that it regards as morally superior. there is racial neutrality which is or has become the conservative position and some form of classical racism seeing blacks as inferior in somewhere. according to the left only one of these positions isn't racist. race neutrality is racist. what is left? nothing except liberalism. in other words agree with liberals and you are not racist. you see this over and over. >> guest: there are racists in conservative francs. i get details from them now and then. the actual racist is less than 1% of 1%. that does not mean it is the actual number but it is what i see. there is actual racism among
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liberals as well. but the mainstream conservative argument, for conservatives who just put alan weston office, this guy who represents the district with the first shot fired in the civil war, the conservative movement that lionizes clarence thomas is simply not jim crow racist nevermind slavery era racist. recalls from c-span morning journal not withstanding. and the argument you get across the board from mainstream conservatives is one of race neutrality. we fought the civil war and said the civil-rights movement is a big government should not categorize people by race. let's do that and the left says that is racist. not to give special help to especially per secreted groups or whatever. i think said is crazy. >> host: your essay in proud to
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be right mostly names that are unfamiliar to most political watchers. why? >> that is the idea. we define young people as people eager than me. most of them are a lot younger than me. most are in their early 20ss and what we were trying to do was -- we didn't want to give a venue or megaphone to 29 or something or the guru at 25. both guys already have a great outlets. what we wanted to do was find people younger who couldn't break through the din and give them a shot at the same time showing vibrant diverse intellectual diversity among young conservatives. >> host: next call from riverside, calif..
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>> caller: two points. the right wingers take orders from higher ups and that is usually what their positions reflect. >> guest: who are the high rocks? >> people like the coke's brothers. that is my humble opinion. most of their positions -- some of the democrats seem -- like max baucus on issues of health care or something, very disappointing because it does not like -- politics is supposed to be about. one thing the astonish me in this last election. it seems -- of the stars are the voting machines, the same people supply 7% of these voting
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machines that nobody took it into consideration -- what happened? >> guest: their founders of the american enterprise institute. i truly don't know that. the cote brothers have been involved in politics for 20, sir years. the jane mainer article is one of these classic examples of people who are ignorant about something suddenly discovering it is a much bigger deal than it is. these guys have been doing this in broad daylight for years. i never received a memo from the coke brothers no. order from the coca brothers. i don't know anybody who has. for anyone who lives inside the call as it were thinks that all of these theories are that the. there are versions of these theories on the right and people
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-- george soros is more involved in this string pulling stuff than the cote brothers are but i am sure there is paranoia on the right about that. he is doing what he thinks is right and coke brothers do when they think is right but people who think average conservative columnists were charles crowderhammer believe anything other than what they conclude through their own applications of intellect and experience is ludicrous. we don't get marching orders in national review from anybody. the idea that tonsil or any of these people are taking orders, you might as well say they are getting messages through the fillings in their teeth. is patently not true. >> host: i shouldn't have said the polk brothers. i should have that have a question because i don't know. >> guest: he may have founded
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some project or other. >> host: go ahead with your question. >> caller: how everybody doing? i have a question on what like to ask of our guest. i am a believer in and rand. she writes just like jonah goldberg. >> guest: have no problem with randians. we famously wrote this essay reading out ran out of the conservative movement and he was too hard on her. i have friends who are soft red andians. she was not a huge influence on
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me. she was a huge influence on a lot of people i respect. >> host: california, go ahead. >> caller: great presentation. you mentioned earlier having a strict religious foundation for a virtuous life style and i was wondering if you consider a secular interpretation as i outlined at characternow where there is a behavioral psychological foundation to the virtues and values and how they are based on instinct will conditioning. i wonder if you have any take on that. >> guest: i am less religious than most of my colleagues at
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national review. i am hy actian. >> host: you list one of his lesser-known books. >> guest: one of the things -- he fairly belongs on the right and drives libertarians crazy. the essence of his argument that i find so useful is the extended order. the idea of trial and error. there are immense amounts of wisdom soaked into all of these institutions we take for granted. the amount of thinking that has gone into money is beyond our ken. we think of money. the idea of trial and error that goes into a tradition and culture and institutions and society that exists outside of government is massive. it does not shock me that you can make -- a secular argument
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for tradition -- traditional value base. one of the reasons these practices and behavior's have been passed from generation to generation is these are successful behavior's and successful lessons. think about all the mistakes in our understanding of food. how many people died of food poisoning before we figured out cooking? if you don't boil them this will happen or food goes bad. that -- now we take the mall for granted. i don't know what your hobbies are but a few take the average person and send them back 300 years, connecticut yankee in king arthur's's court, wisdom about how to do things, i don't know how to make a sword or anything like that. one of the great essays in america libertarianism is by
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leonard reed, and as a written from the perspective of a pencil. no one knows how to make a pencil and it is true. even companies that make pencils don't know how to make pencils. they put the last 5% of ingredients together but they don't -- they don't know how to distill the paint. the beauty of capitalism is it is the most cooperative thing ever imagined. all these different things collectively for their own self-interest and produce something of a government could never produce on its own, is an enduring metaphor for morality. there's a reason some moral principles hold up over time. they were not sound, societies would fall apart. one thing we have to deal with
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is the old chestnut we need to throw way versus the ones we need to chairs and hold the year. the idea of muddling through, slow gradual reform, where you are short about the pass you are going to make rather than these sweeping changes to society which involved mistakes that you can't pursue. >> what is national review's relationship with christopher buckley and and coulter? >> guest: christopher buckley was a friend of mine. he is still on the board but is the son of william f. buckley. through a comedy of errors, christopher in 2008 election christopher offered a bad explanation why he was endorsing
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barack obama. it was taken -- blown out of context, christopher himself wouldn't have done it if his father was still alive. there was some psychological i am my own person stuff. i am a big fan of christopher's but he had been riding on a temporary basis of column for national review, during all of the hullabaloo christopher thought he was fired. it got ugly and there was miscommunication. i hope everything is ok but i am not privy to that stuff. there is no relationship, in 2001 shortly after 911, attack national review on bill locker's show politically correct, we had
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a problem with a column -- i was on my honeymoon at the time and had this giant steaming plate of problems in front of me when i got home and it said we should invade these countries and convert their leaders to christianity. we would run a problem rather than negotiate with us, she went public with this stuff and one of my great journalistic principles is don't be on the shoes of people who write checks. just kidding out there, be in a slave to mike check writer. but it was unfortunate in and became this thing where i had fired and coulter and all the rest. she has her thing and we have
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ours. it mostly lives on in one of these little anecdotes in a war of conservative infighting. >> host: less than a minute left with jonah goldberg. william in tennessee. go ahead. >> caller: it is so good to see c-span after all these years and it is the only bastion left that doesn't have hyperbole. you look like dick cabot. >> host: are you talking to me your jonah goldberg? >> caller: i am talking to you. that is a complement. one of the last decent interviewers we have in this country. >> host: what is your comment? >> caller: i was a marxist in my teens and became a libertarian and voted for ron paul when i was 20 in 1988 and like william
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f. buckley said, worse somebody did, a young conservative has no heart and an old liberal has no mind. >> guest: i think it was churchill who first said that. this is one of the reasons i don't care -- my book on young conservatives notwithstanding i despise politics and don't really care has a lot of people do how the younger generation is more liberal than it has ever been. millennials as they call them, i have always felt this stuff. yahoo! people by definition don't know as much as old people. that is why we call them young people. young people if they're smart and learn from experience and exposed to good arguments might change their mind about things.
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i don't like the identity politick logic that says we lost the future or lost the children. maybe children will sober up. >> host: you referenced young people in your book proud to be right, voices of the next conservative generation is the subtitle. this e-mail from michigan, why do you think of the information professions are so dominated by liberals? public education, law school, journalism, your own ideology. >> guest: you have to. the reason why journalism and education is dominated by liberals is simply -- says something good and bad about liberals. on the one hand it says they're like michelle obama. they are willing to vote with their feet and do good things
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for society. they are not primarily driven by market motives and that kind of thing or do good things. one of the thing that is part of that psyche is liberal ito's that says if i can just get the word out or explain why they are wrong or get the apple before the tree, i can convert the world to liberalism and my point of view. that is where we started. religious proselytizing in polls to a lot of these. you find it among journalists too. this idea that i know what reality is. if i can just explain reality i can make the world better place. if you are a conservative you set your sights a little lower. doing good for your family, making a product or providing a service of value, your attempts to improve the world, in your
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local community, i recommend conflict division, the difference between the constrained and unconstrained vision. some of these institutions are so monolithic in their ideological outlook is bad for the country. the reason i didn't talk about lawyers is there's a second aspect of this. woodrow wilson and the rise of the administrative state, this cult of expertise and technocracy on the left that says we know how to organize and drive society, fix society like a broken engine and a lot of those people go to law school and import this idea that only lawyers know how to fix and do right by society and that creates problems. that is why the supreme court is crazy deciding moral issues and all the rest. if you are going to elect people to fix our society why would you pick nine lawyers to do it?
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>> host: i heard glen beck's remarks about president obama's in the in trips and asked us to pray for the president's safety and the secret service who have an enormous task. the previous e-mail their took something far away from the actual statement. many thanks to mr boulder to his contributions. i look forward to his next offering did your next book is entitled and when the coming out? >> thank you to the caller. i suspected there was more. this is why i don't trust media matters. they get these guys to take things out of context and the hypocrisy is one of the biggest complaints is conservatives taking things out of context. >> host: du support the end of discrimination and what are your favorite comics or graphic
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novels? >> guest: i recently read an old man logan, i think -- wolverine is a superhero. i like comic books. i originally wanted to write comic books. that was my original goal. i thought the last man series was interesting and worth reading. we could talk about this all day but i can tell you don't want me to. on the first part. on the gay stuff, gays in the military, the thing i hear about most is whether it will detract from the fighting. i think it is a perfectly reasonable thing for gays to want to be allowed to serve in


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